A reading tomorrow

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone is well–and perhaps even finding some new and creative ways of being in our collective isolation (is that too much to hope for?). While the past month has been pretty sleepy for me, I’m very happy to be reading poetry at a virtual gathering organized by the very generous and industrious Ksenija Spasic tomorrow evening. The event is titled “Light Source,” and it will be happening tomorrow (Saturday, May 9) from 7-9pm EST. Details and a link to the Zoom room can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

One of the advantages of the online event format is that it offers the chance to bring geographically distant poets into the same intimate space. In that respect, I’m excited to hear work by UK poet Delilah Tahiri and US poet Yalie Kamara. In addition, I’m also looking forward to hearing work by Ksenija as well as Ryan Fitzpatrick–whose wryly half-ironic, often surprisingly surprising poetry I don’t think I can ever get enough of. I’m the last featured reader of the night, although there will also be some additional readings, questions, conversation, etc.

If you can stop by for a peaceful night in front of a computer screen, I’d love to see you!

 

Digital poster for Light Source: Poetry in a Pixelated Time, depicting a blurred page of poetry.

 

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Notes on the knife | fork | book spring 2020 online release party

Howdy folks,

It’s amazing how time flies! It’s already been almost a week since The Devil‘s official release date last Friday, March 27th–and, more importantly, the online release party KFB’s spring season authors and I held to celebrate our respective publications. Of course, the book is up for sale on the KFB online store (I’ve heard it’s selling well!), and it ships free to anywhere in Canada. If you’d like a copy of your own, I hope you’ll stop by the online shop and place an order!

Really, though, I wanted to write a post to reflect on the event, because I think we accomplished something special. If you didn’t get a chance to stop by last Friday night, we hosted video-recorded readings by me, Andy Verboom, and Mike Cavuto (reading both his own work and some of Hamish Ballantyne’s)–plus a trippily ORANGE intro by Kirby and an under-the-blanket love note from Fan Wu–on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then promptly took them offline by Saturday morning. My hope was to replicate some of the excitement and ephemerality of a live event, but with the quality and creativity of pre-recorded content. And, of course, I wanted to do something unique and memorable with the digital social spaces we’ve suddenly found ourselves even more deeply engaged in. I hadn’t heard of any online event quite like this before, and I wonder, now that it’s done, whether anything similar might be bubbling up on the horizon…

Overall, I’d say the night was a success! It’s worth noting that the technical side of things was pretty messy, and I know that at least a few of us were pretty frustrated at points trying to corral Gmail, Google Photos, WeTransfer, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even a few pinch-hitting video editing softwares into getting the videos to play at the right time (they played, but nowhere near as soon as we had hoped). If this is ever attempted again, there are certainly some lessons to be learned about which online platforms to bring into the mix. Luckily, though, very little of our struggles seemed to show up on the front end, which was filled with lively, insightful, and sometimes hilarious conversation (most of which is still up on the Facebook discussion page, in addition to some banter on Twitter), along with incredibly heart-warming shows of support. There were even a few audience requests for Instagram-bound spontaneous photography, which were happily granted. Overall, it was a lot of fun, and I got to show off a little bit. It’s hard to ask for more.

At the same time, I also realize that my work with The Devil is not over. Mentions will keep appearing sporadically, I’m sure, across the internet, and once we can all gather again I am still excited to perform some pieces from the chapbook in person. Besides that, I have a sense that video files can never truly self-destruct the way a live event can, and I can imagine our recordings worming their ways onto poetry-lovers’ screens in some fashion in the near to medium future. When you try something new, all of that just comes with the territory. And one of the things I’ve loved most about this is its unpredictability, and the energy that unpredictability brings.

Kirby was sweet enough to put together a photo album of some of his favourite moments from the release party. So, I’ve gone ahead and stolen a few pics from there (and the event’s Instagram page) to include in my own post! Not for perfection’s sake, but just to mark the occasion. Whatever I end up planning next with any of these folks, I’m looking forward to it!

 

John Nyman holding a copy of The Devil, from his reading for KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

Andy Verboom taking a drink, from his reading for KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

Michael Cavuto at his desk, from his reading for KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

An ORANGE orb, from Kirby's intro to KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

Fan Wu under a blanket, from Fan Wu's outro to KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

John's hair and Persephone the cactus

 

As always, happy reading. And take care!

 

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The Devil: live readings are cancelled… but the chapbook still launches March 27th!

 

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UPDATE: The KFB spring 2020 Online Release Party is live! Check us out at 7pm EST on March 27th via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for readings and discussion.

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Hello all,

I hope you are well (both physically and mentally) during the difficult times we find ourselves living in! It is with great disappointment that I announce the cancellation of all four live readings I had scheduled to celebrate the launch of The Devil this month. This includes the launch events that were planned in Guelph, London, and Toronto, as well as the Toronto Urban Folk Art Salon. We are hoping to reschedule the launch readings (or something comparable) in late May or early June–when Andy Verboom, who has been instrumental in helping plan these events, is hoping to make it out to Ontario from Halifax–so please stay tuned for updates around then.

In the meantime, the chapbook is still available via knife | fork | book’s online shop, and will be shipping by its official release date of March 27th. If you’d like to support me or knife | fork | book, or if you just want to read my newest work, you can pre-order The Devil and receive free shipping to anywhere in Canada. So, what are you waiting for? Do it now!

Aside from netting you a copy of the book, I would strongly encourage you to check out the online shop to support k | f | b. Anyone who’s been there knows that Kirby’s space is an incomparable resource for the poetry community in Toronto and across North America; however, the closure of its home base in Artscape Youngplace until at least April 6th means it’ll be losing out on the massive chunk of revenue it earns from in-person book sales. If there was ever a time to contribute financially to the Canadian literary community, it’s now.

While the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly be hard on us writers and readers, I still consider us fortunate in that our art form can often be enjoyed far away from in-person gatherings and events. Aside from promoting online sales, I am also keen on hosting some sort of online event to celebrate the official release of The Devil and the rest of knife | fork | book’s spring season on the 27th–so please keep that date in your calendar! Although I haven’t yet worked out the details or scope of the event, I’m hoping that I and some of the other authors will be able to post video- or audio-recorded readings to a common hub (probably a Facebook event) to be viewed on and only on the night of the launch. In addition, we would also host an online discussion and direct participants to k | f | b’s online shop. If you have any interest in taking part (and, let’s not kid ourselves, I know you’ll just be at home doing nothing anyway), stay tuned for more updates here and on my social feeds in the coming week.

Happily, then, I can still end this post by saying that I’m excited to hear from you on the 27th. For now, happy reading!

 

John Nyman's chapbook The Devil, placed on a table with a knife and a fork on either side

 

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***Cancelled*** The Devil launches March 27 (Toronto), plus readings in Guelph (March 24) and London (March 28)

 

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UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, all of the readings mentioned below have been cancelled. Please see my newest blog post for more information.

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Howdy all,

You know it’s been coming. You might have even heard about it. The Devil, my brand-new poetry chapbook with knife | fork | book, is launching Friday, March 27th, 7:00pm at the k | f | b shop in Artscape Youngplace (180 Shaw Street). Happily, I’m also looking forward to joining Andy Verboom (whose DBL is also launching as part of the k | f | b spring season) at additional launch readings in Guelph (Tuesday, March 24th, 7:00pm at The Penny Whistle Pub, 102-2 Quebec Street) and London (Saturday, March 28th, 7:00pm at Brown and Dickson, 567 Richmond Street). Finally, I’m also lucky enough to be among the featured poets and singer-songwriters at the Toronto Urban Folk Art Salon that same week, on Thursday, March 26th, 6:00pm at the Mount Pleasant Library (599 Mt. Pleasant Road). All four readings promise culminations of my years of speaking and writing about the Prince of Darkness–and a long-awaited chance to keep spreading the gospel in print.

I’ve put a lot into this book, and I’ve already gotten a lot out of it: the thing’s gorgeous, and more than a few readers have been stirred by its poems over the months and years. I couldn’t be more excited to spread its energy farther afield, especially with the help of the wonderful friends and fellow poets I’ll be joining across Southern Ontario in just a few short weeks. In Toronto: Michael Cavuto and Hamish Ballantyne. In Guelph: Kirby, Candace de Taeye, and Mike Chaulk. In London: Misha Bower, Jason Dickson, Gabrielle Drolet, and Angie Quick. Plus, in all three cities, the unparalleled Andy Verboom.

Of course, I’m excited to see you there, too. Come on out; it’ll be a slice. And, as always, happy reading!

 

knife | fork | book's spring 2020 publications, laid out on a table: DBL (Andy Verboom), The Devil (John Nyman), Imitation Crab (Hamish Ballantyne), Country Poems (Michael Cavuto)

 

The Devil / DBL launch event poster featuring John Nyman, Andy Verboom, Candace de Taeye, Kirby, Mike Chaulk

 

poster for Urban Folk Art Salon, Thursday, March 26th, 6:00-8:00pm, Mount Pleasant Library (599 Mount Pleasant Road)

DBL / The Devil launch event poster featuring Andy Verboom, John Nyman, Misha Bower, Jason Dickson, Gabrielle Drolet, Angie Quick

 

 

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Poems from The Devil in ​The /tƐmz/ Review 10

Hi folks,

I’m super-excited this week to share five poems from The Devil in ​The /tƐmz/ Review‘s tenth issue, which is now available for reading online. The five featured poems are some of the hottest from the chapbook (which is launching March 27th in Toronto), and I’m very happy to see them accessible online in addition to appearing in print next month. Aaron Schneider and Amy Mitchell have done a fantastic job with The /tƐmz/ Review‘s publication design and online presence, not to mention their putting together a spectacular winter issue including poetry by Khashayar Mohammadi (whose debut full-length has just been picked up by Gordon Hill Press), Jade Wallace, David Ly, and Roxanna Bennett, plus a long-form interview between two friends of mine, Kevin Heslop and Terese Pierre.

 

back cover of The Devil chapbook

 

If you’re looking to pre-order your copy of The Devil, everything you need to know is in my January 20 blog post (or you can just click the link at the beginning of this sentence!). As I announced last month, the chapbook will be launching at knife | fork | book on March 27th alongside a few other much-anticipated gems. I’ll also be accompanying Andy Verboom (who will be launching his DBL) to additional events in Guelph on March 24th and London on March 28th; stay tuned for more information about those later this month!

Until then, Happy Reading!

 

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The Devil on HOWL (10pm Tuesday on CIUT 89.5FM), and available for pre-order

Hi all,

Anyone who follows knife | fork | book on Twitter has seen the hype around this spring’s upcoming batch of chapbooks, and I’m damned happy to be nestled in beside long con editor Andy Verboom, Hamish Ballantyne, and a full-length debut (!) from Michael Cavuto. My contribution, The Devil, includes poems about the Prince of Darkness himself, li’l ol’ me, and whatever semblance of God I’ve found in the midst of it. I’ve been working on these poems for a while now, so I’m pretty pumped for the launch (which will be on March 27 in Toronto, by the way, although I’ll announce that again closer to the date). You can also pre-order the chapbook at the k |f |b shop if you’re anxious to nail down your copy–and if you can’t pick it up at the launch, you can get it shipped for free to anywhere in Canada!

More pressingly, I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be on the radio with Nancy Bullis and Valentino Assenza of HOWL (Tuesdays 10pm-11pm on CIUT 89.5FM) tomorrow night at 10pm, broadcasting out of U of T’s Hart House. I’ll be joining my illustrious friends / publishers / editors Jim Johnstone and Kirby to read a few poems from The Devil–so if you’re even a little curious about my own twist on Satanic ritual, I’d highly recommend keeping your ears perked.

As always, happy listening!

 

back cover of The Devil chapbook

 

 

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excerpts from Your Very Own in long con issue 1

Hi folks,

I may be a few days late blogging about this (the magazine came out FAST), but that doesn’t make me any less happy to be included in the inaugural issue of long con, a new online magazine of art about art spearheaded by Andy Verboom and Kailee Wakeman. Aside from the pleasure of being published by such conscientious editors, I’m also extra pleased to be featured next to more than a few artists and writers I deeply respect, including Annick MacAskill, Angie Quick, Trevor Abes, and others I’m too shy to presume to call friends. Of course, I’m sure the folks I don’t recognize by name have also contributed some excellent work (I’m excited to find out for myself once I can really sit down with the issue), so I wish you a fruitful romp through the magazine!

The pieces I’ve contributed are excerpts from Your Very Own, a visual and textual erasure of Choose Your Own Adventure #43: Grand Canyon Odyssey that is set to be released in full form with JackPine Press. I wrote a sentence or two about the project after the publication of another excerpt in tiny spoon this summer, and you can also check out a blurb about the project at its dedicated page at long con (although I would recommend leafing through the issue a bit, if only to steal ideas from its slick web design). So, I’ll let those links do the rest of the talking.

As always, happy reading!

 

An erased image from Your Very Own, showing a girl and a boy flying through the air.

 

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Two launches for Kevin Heslop’s there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria

Howdy everyone,

I’m coming in at the last minute with this post, but I’m here to celebrate two quickly upcoming readings with Kevin Heslop to help him launch his new Frog Hollow Press chapbook, there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria. Surely I’ve mentioned Kevin before… He’s a good friend of mine, probably now an old friend, who also happens to be one of the most thoughtful and hardest working champions of poetry and the arts in London, Ontario–and, more and more, Canada as a whole. Aside from that, he has been a dear companion to me during my time in and around London and in the years since (especially considering all the shit he put up with from me on our New Brunswick tour earlier this month).

Most importantly to you, Kevin is a fantastically daring and attentive poet with a broad and deep pool of influences. If I could try to summarize his writing, I’d say he has a unique talent for finding the bridges (or underground passageways) between intensely different aspects of experience. He’s also a fabulous reader, owing in part to his acting chops. This is his debut book. COME HEAR HIM READ. Also, I’ll be there.

Both of us will be at The Bookshelf in Guelph, Ontario tomorrow (Thursday, October 24) at 7pm, where we’ll be reading alongside another good and old friend of mine, Mike Chaulk. You can find details on the launch’s Facebook event page. Also, if you’re around The Bookshelf earlier in the afternoon, you should check out the AbleHamilton Poetry Festival‘s Guelph reading with Dominik Parisien and Annie Lepage (or just listen to Hymns57’s set on CFRU 93.3 FM at 1pm, which sounds absolutely amazing).

If you’re a Toronto folk, you can also catch me and Kevin (along with some other special guests, including the wonderful Concetta Principe) at knife | fork | book this Saturday, October 26 at 7pm sharp. Details here. Keep in mind that this is at k | f | b’s new space in Artscape Youngplace on Shaw Street (which, having just visited for the first time yesterday, I can tell you is one of the most engaging bookstore environments I’ve ever set foot in).

Whether it’s one reading or the other, I’ll see you there!

 

cover of Kevin Heslop's there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria

 

 

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New Brunswick tour (readings at UNB Poetry Weekend, Attic Owl Reading Series, and the Petitcodiac Public Library)

Hi everyone,

I’m posting today to pre-celebrate my first foray into New Brunswick (either as a poet or as a person), which I’ll be embarking upon next month from October 3rd to October 8th. Thanks to the unyielding acumen of superstar poet/critic and OG New Brunswicker Shane Neilson–as well as the enduring friendship of fellow poets Jim Johnstone, Kevin Heslop, and Jeff Kirby of knife | fork | book–I’m looking forward to a car ride crowded with poetry and pals.

We’ve got a few stops planned for our tour, and I’ll be reading at a few of them. The main event, of course, is the University of New Brunswick’s annual Poetry Weekend festival in Fredericton, which will feature us five Ontarians alongside a slew of other poets spread across two full days of readings (plus affiliated events, a house party, and who knows what else). Based on the Poetry Weekend stories I’ve heard in the past, I’m both excited and terrified, but odds are it’ll be a great time for most involved.

Before the weekend, though, I’ll also be reading at the Attic Owl Reading Series the day we drive into the province, October 3rd, in Moncton. Heslop and I are preparing some kind of collaborative set for the event (something about faith in the contemporary world–it’ll be good, I promise), and we’ll be reading alongside Neilson, Kirby, Danny Jacobs (who I still owe some in-person thanks for writing a wonderfully well-thought-out review of Players some years ago), and Claire Kelly (who I also had the pleasure of featuring with at Toronto’s Common Readings in the spring), plus musical guest Bruised Orange. If you’re around, or if you might be, check out the event here.

Finally, Neilson, Heslop, and I are also slated to read at the Petitcodiac Public Library in the afternoon of Saturday, October 5th (poster below). This is also thanks to the fine work of Danny Jacobs, who, you can probably guess, I’m pretty stoked to finally meet! Neilson and Heslop are fabulous presenters, and while I can’t speak for myself, I think it’ll be a pretty good reading.

Of course, my compatriots will also be engaged in other events over the extended weekend, but it’s a little beyond me to gather all the details here (and besides, Shane already summarized everything beautifully in his own post about the tour). In any case, whoever you’re thinking of coming out to see, I hope to catch you next week in the Maritimes!

 

poster for Writers on the River at the Petitcodiac Public Library (October 5, 2019)

 

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Excerpt from Your Very Own in tiny spoon’s erasure contest supplement

Hey all,

This post is a little bit delayed, but I wanted to write a quick note about my recent publication in tiny spoon‘s issue #2 erasure contest supplement. The title pretty much says it all, but I did want to take a second to thank the tiny spoon team for their generosity in accepting my submission, and for their efforts publishing and promoting my work alongside an excellent roster of experimental poets. As you can see below, the piece looks pretty swell, and I appreciate the editors’ dedication to incorporating writing that pushes the typographical norms of journal publication. If you can get your hands on paper copies of issue #2 or the erasure contest supplement, I’d highly recommend a look; otherwise, I trust they’ll be posted in pdf form on tiny spoon’s archive page in the coming months. (You can also take a look at the digital edition of issue #1, which is already there!)

 

excerpt from Your Very Own in tiny spoon erasure contest supplement: the anger / you post / all / over / is difficult to see. / worse, the ra ge / can / drown / you. You have to / grab hold of / and pull on each / wrong.

 

Your Very Own is a chapbook-length erasure poetry project I’ve been working on for some time. Without going into too much detail (the complete book comes with a context that’s quite different from that of the excerpt), the work is an erasure of text and images from the children’s novel Choose Your Own Adventure #43: Grand Canyon Odyssey, written by Jay Leibold and illustrated by Don Hedin. If you haven’t done so already, you can check out my Instagram (@selected.works) for a few more selections from the project.

I’ve spent the past few months working with JackPine Press to publish an edition of the chapbook, and the process so far has been incredibly exciting; consider the amazing bookworks the press has produced in the past, I can’t wait to see what a fully materialized version of Your Very Own will look like. While I don’t have a solid timeline for the publication just yet, let’s consider this a soft announcement. Stay tuned for details!

 

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